The Mzimu Project: Education with Spirit

The Mzimu Project: Education with Spirit

Crowdfunding Completed: February 6, 2016

Amount Funded: $6071

Project Owner: Johannah Murphy

Short Description of Project

In rural Malawi there is a lack of early development education and opportunities. In order to address this issue in the most holistic and sustaining way, the organization Women’s Build and I, propose a community skill center addition that supports a Nursery School already built by Women’s Build. The Nursery School/Center will pay attention to all holistic needs of students and their families, hosting programs in environmental education, women’s empowerment, various trainings, and spiritual growth through the Tapestry of Faith curriculum specifically the “Creating Home” section.

How was this project connected to UU?

This project asserts Unitarian Universalism through its commitment to carry out love as action as well as acting as part of my ministry as an aspiring UU minister who is committed to faith based social action and sustaining communities through spirit coupled with service.
As Unitarian Universalists we not only talk of the action of love, we insist upon it. This project works to put love into action on a global level while also reflecting many of the principles of Unitarian Universalism, as a project that seeks to sustain and protect the inherent worth and dignity of every person through a commitment to the compassion, equity, and justice in human relations as well as working within the wider global community.

Full Description of Project

Currently in Malawi, Africa there is a lack of opportunities for early childhood development, impacting not only education levels, but also issues of poverty and child care. This project proposes to address the need for more early child development opportunities in the context of community ownership of a nursery school through a development of spiritual community, adult education, a tree nursery, and demonstration permagarden all attached to the nursery. This project has the long-term goal of expanding the nursery school into a self-sustaining school block consisting of a nursery school, an all girls’ primary, and a secondary school. This nursery school is in the process of being registered with the government and consists of a two-room building. They have the long-term goal of expanding the nursery school into an all girls' primary school and then a secondary school. In order for it to be expanded in a sustainable way the school will not only have community buy-in, but there will be an attempt to establish a community that is also grounded in ‘spirit’ (mzimu).

This project will fund a six-week experiment of working with adults and children via the Tapestry of Faith curriculum “Creating Home” as well as funding various trainings and additions to the nursery school, it will 1.) Address concerns of access through the continued construction and establishment of a nursery school for the Bolero area of the Rumphi District in the North of Malawi, 2.) Establish educational programs in the areas of nutrition, business skills, and women’s empowerment, to be run by Women’s Build and their associates, 3.) Establish a surrounding permaculture garden and tree nursery both for income generation and environmental preservation.

As a lifelong UU, I have come to value not only our tradition’s commitment to justice, but the room and space that has been provided to me to create and craft my own spiritual home. It is my hope with this project that a new spiritual home can be crafted that will not only provide services and education for the students and participants, but will provide a new type of spiritual home as well.